John Muir


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Thus flying past rock headlands for an hour or two the gale seemed to increase in violence and our crew used the oars and paddles after taking down the sail in running into a rocky nook shelter. They seemed to think it too storm to travel, but said that they would venture on with us, for good luck was sure in as much as the Lord loved us, but that it was too dangerous for Indians About noon we saw a canoe in a little grassy harbor and ran in to seek Chilcat news. We had heard at the Kake village that Kadachan’s father was shot and not expected to live, and that some 10 men were killed in a drunken row. In case K’s father, who is a chief, should die, a big fight would be sure to follow. Therefore Kadachan and Toyatte, as well as our other Indians were very anxious to hear (the truth) and the latest news, for they would all be involved in the dangerous trouble. This first news was confirmed by the Indians we found. A Hoona doctor and three or four women who had been over on this island for a load of potatoes were here waiting a calmer day to cross the channel, Chatham Strait. The doctor said he had his news from his wife’s sister, who had just come from Chilcat. Of course we were interested also, knowing the character of the Cats, and thought for our own and crew’s scalps sake to go up Cross Sound (Icy Strait) to the ice mountains we heard of through Charlie, and thus allow time for matters to clear up or settle into definite form. Therefore we concluded to cross the strait and call in at one of the Hoona villages on our way for mission purposes. We had a capital wind and made a quick run, camping 10 or 15 ms. inside the Strait on the S. side. Had a wet camp – took two hrs. to make a fire. Not a very flattering testimony to the woodcraft of our Indians. Pitchwood in small quantities may be found almost anywhere along the coast, but none here. {Sketch: S. 30o W. from Deer Bay} Oct. 23. Next morning with fair wind ran into a bay some 8 or 10 ms. down the Strait to the largest of the two Hoona villages. It is charmingly located on the north side of the bay, which branches at the head into two picturesque fiords, one of which extends to the Chatham Strait. On our approach, as we rounded a rocky point, we noticed a group of gazers, then a British flag was hoisted on a tall staff in front of the largest house which belonged to a chief Kashoto. Captain Toyatte hoisted the U.S. flag, and thus we landed. Kashoto met us at the beach and received us with grave dignity, barefooted and bareheaded, yet looking every way a chief, wrapt in his ornamented blanket. He said that he was not much acquainted with our people, did not know their usages and feared that his house would be found too dirty and unfurnished to suit our taste, and that he was also poor. We explained, through our interpreter, that we were not proud of heart and would be glad to accept his hospitality, etc. Then with a smile he led us in the round hole-door of his big square mansion. Our cook began operations for dinner, on seeing which he expressed great concern at not being able to entertain us Boston fashion. After dinner we begged him to call in as many of his people as he could get together for a talk. Some 10 or 12

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Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 18 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist